Messages from Previous Executive Directors

Executive Director, Executive Secretariat

Helen Brohl - Executive Director U.S. Committee on the Marine Transportation System

When I began with the CMTS as its first Executive Director in July 2006, I was confident that a successful interagency partnership of MTS-related agencies could be - and it has. I did not, then, have a vision for the breadth and scope and quality of work that could be performed by the interagency partnership but it is astounding. There are 13 operating subcommittees working on subjects ranging from navigation safety to innovative technologies to environmental resilience to the MTS workforce. The new National Strategy on the Marine Transportation System for 2023 to 2028 is on the horizon, which will be supported by yearly and dynamic CMTS work plans. CMTS leadership could not be stronger from the Secretary of Transportation to the Coordinating Board to the co-leads of our many task teams. If one measure of the value of a committee is the investment of time and expertise of its members, the CMTS is very rich indeed.

As I consider my future beyond the CMTS in early 2023, I am confident that the legacy of work by our members will continue to inspire the partnership as it considers new and emerging issues within the MTS. To ensure that the previous hard work is not forgotten, the CMTS now publishes its work products in the National Transportation Library: The CMTS partnership with the Marine Board of the National Academy of Sciences has been cemented through seven biennial science and technology-related conferences; the summary of the last conference about autonomous technologies available at: We are now engaged with the American Association of Port Authorities to present a yearly panel discussions in support of MTS infrastructure, the latest at: The CMTS continually flexes in response to issues of importance evidenced by the establishment of the Mariner and MTS Workforce Integrated Action Team in early 2022, as well as the Offshore Energy Facilitation Task Team which is developing national guidance related to the discovery of munitions and explosives of concern related to offshore wind energy development.

The CMTS is a well-established and trusted forum in which to engage the 25+ MTS-related agency members. We are now a principal on the White House Ocean Policy Committee and the Arctic Executive Steering Committee. We support the Global Maritime Coordination Center and the Maritime Operational Threat Response practices. Since October 2006, we have never failed to hold a quarterly Coordinating Board meeting - even under pandemic. Our leadership has often said that if you did't have a CMTS, you'd have to create one to rally the many agencies engaged in maritime transportation. Well, we have one and it works because of the dedication of its members and leadership. I have the best job in government!